MISSISSIPPI (WTOK) - ALABAMA (WTOK) - "If they go up any higher, I'm going to buy a bicycle," says Dana Ruffin from Lauderdale County. She might start seriously considering that because industry analysts are projecting prices at the pump to increase by 40 to 50 cents.
"This is the time of year when prices will only go up from here," says
AAA spokesman Don Redman. He tells Newscenter 11 that there are several causes for the increase. They include: higher demand and a decrease in oil production by some countries.
"We've seen a big hit on our inventories, just on shear demand that we haven't seen since 2015," says Redman. "Oil is sold on the global market, and so that's how that is impacted for us. Other countries have cut back on production and the U.S. is making up for that demand which is good for the U.S. economy in terms of oil producing and all the jobs that are related to that."
Reflecting on prices several years ago, the question for some drivers in the twin states is, "Will gas prices here will once again reach $3 a gallon or higher?"
"Unless we have another event like Hurricane Harvey I don't expect it to happen on the Gulf Coast," says Redman. "However, we will be paying significantly higher than we were at this time last year."
Redman says local gas prices are about 25 cents higher now than they were at this time last year. According to AAA, the current average price of gas in Mississippi is $2.35. It's one cent higher in Alabama.
Redman projects that by this summer prices in Mississippi and Alabama will average between $2.70 and $2.90 a gallon.